In Australia, nearly 43 out of every 1000 workers suffer a work-related injury or illness each year. Work-related injuries are responsible for lost productivity and lost wages, putting a huge damper on the economy. This makes injuries at work not just a personal hardship, but a national issue.
If you are injured at work, you may be entitled to benefits under Australia’s WorkCover programme. While it is important to check the details of your state’s programme, the general rules and steps to ensure coverage are similar. All employers must have a worker’s compensation policy in place to help employees who are injured on the job take off the necessary time to heal and recover. Find out the proper steps to make sure that you receive your entitled benefits.
What Injuries Are Included?
In general, if you are hurt while you are working for your employer and need medical care so that you are fit to continue working, then you may be able to get help through WorkCover. The following work-related injuries are usually covered:
- Industrial deafness
- A moderate to major cut
- Fracture or bone injury
- Injury while travelling to or from work
- Injury while on a work recess
- Psychological disorders as a result of being overworked or stressed at work
If you already have a pre-existing medical condition, such as heart disease, depression, or another chronic illness, you may also be entitled to benefits if your illness is aggravated due to work.
Step One – Take Care of Your Health
The first step that you should follow is to get the treatment that you need. When faced with a a serious injury or life-threatening situation at work, call 000 for emergency services. It is also important to notify your employer immediately. Your employer can help evaluate your situation and contact appropriate emergency assistance, if you haven’t done so already.
You will need to see a doctor in order to receive worker’s compensation. This is a way of verifying the situation and validating the cost of your care and recovery time to the insurance company. Make sure you keep all documentation of your visit, and let your doctor know that you will be filing for a work-related injury.
Step Two – Paperwork
Your employer will likely need to report the incident to your state’s Health and Workplace Safety agency. In some states, such as Victoria, you have to notify your employer in writing within 30 days of the incident in order to be eligible. If you can’t write a report yourself, someone can write it on your behalf.
Should you lodge a claim? WorkCover exists to help cover the costs of lost wages and treatment for a work-related injury or illness. If you lost work because of your injury or if you had to pay for treatment, then you can lodge a claim with the WorkCover programme through your state.
As long as you have already taken the appropriate steps: notifying your employer, getting necessary care, and keeping all receipts and any other forms of documentation, this should be a straightforward process.
Step Three – Rehabilitation
Once your claim is lodged, your state will let you know what benefits you are eligible for as soon as possible. Make sure you take care of all your paperwork right away, as it will take time for your claim to be processed. Waiting longer than 30 days may make you ineligible.
Now, it’s time to heal and recover – and to inform your state’s WorkCover program when you expect to return to work. Depending on your situation, you may need to take part in rehabilitation to help you return to work; this is also included in WorkCover. Rehabilitation can include ongoing medical treatments after you have returned to work, as well as performing alternative duties until you have fully recovered.
If you are injured, the best thing you can do is seek treatment and take care of your claim as quickly as possible. Coordinate with your employer, your doctor, and your state’s programme. Then, take care of yourself so you can restore your quality of life and get back to work.